Japan PM, Iranian president to discuss Us-iran row
(DPA), 12 JUNE, 2019-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe departed Japan on Wednesday for a two-day visit to Iran amid growing tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Abe, who will become the first Japanese premier to visit Iran in 41 years, is scheduled to hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rowhani on Wednesday and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday, the Japanese government said.
“Based on traditionally friendly relations between Japan and Iran, I would like to exchange frank opinions in order to defuse tensions,” Abe told reporters upon his departure from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
Abe is willing to serve as an intermediary, as Japan has amicable relations with Iran, which the country had long relied on for oil imports until the Trump administration ended its sanctions waivers granted to buyers of Iran’s crude oil.
Abe’s trip to the Islamic Republic comes amid the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Abe spoke with US President Donald Trump over the phone on Tuesday to discuss Iran, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.
During his state-visit to Tokyo in late May, the US president did not oppose the premier’s plan to hold meetings with Iranian leaders.